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by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2016


Emmanuel Elone: Bas’ recent album, Too High to Riot, is a decent, laid back hip-hop album, and “Matches” is a prime example of that. English group the Hics lay down a chill, cloud rap beat with some nice vocals on the chorus, and Bas does a good job on the verses. Sonically, “Matches” is a great song. It’s issue, though, lies in Bas himself; while he’s not a bad lyricist, nothing about his verses are exceptional. There’s also the fact that, as a Dreamville artist, he takes his emceeing cues from J. Cole far too often, and sounds more like a copycat than an artist in his own right. Still, “Matches” is a great sounding, inoffensive hip-hop song, even if Bas wears his influences on his sleeve a bit too much. [6/10]

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2016


Austin’s funky duo of Anthony Farrell and Andrew Trube—aka Greyhounds—have their sophomore album Change of Pace releasing this Friday. The group’s psychedelic soul is a potent and eclectic mix. The cultural and political battlegrounds of America are very much the central preoccupation of this new record. Farrell says, “There’s this polarization of American culture where you’re either on our side or you’re against us, and I don’t think that really helps anybody.”

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2016


Pryor Stroud: French goth-electro artist Kangding Ray weaves sonic tapestries out of encrypted shadow-codes—little pockets of dead and actively dying light—that remain defiantly opaque to interpretation yet still seem to telegraph a range of lurid secrets. In “Brume”, Ray augments an industrial rock throb with synth washes that seem to wander blindly out of the track’s pitch-black corners, creating a sense of subterranean space that seems to get smaller and smaller as the seconds tick by. Some steam-engine machine grinds away in the background; stray electrical wires seems to convulse across the track’s bed, shooting sparks storms and inspiring an omnipresent sense of fear. “Brume”, in sum, sounds like it is set in a horror-movie basement lab where unnameable surgical implements, strange chemicals, and sealed-off freezers line the walls. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

22 Apr 2016


Emmanuel Elone: Some people might know this song as the original sample to Kanye and Jay Z’s 2010 single “Otis”. However, long before those two were the musical superstars that they are today, Otis Redding was dominating the charts in the mid to late ‘60s as the King of R&B with hits like “Try a Little Tenderness”. Everything about this song is fantastic, from it’s pulsing rhythms to Redding’s trademark croons. No matter whether it’s the chorus, verse or bridge, Otis Redding gave it his all, pushing his vocal chords to etch out one more passionate note, maintain one grand vibrato, or belt out some short staccato phrases for effect. There are many reasons as to why Otis Redding picked up the mantle left by Sam Cooke’s untimely passing, and “Try a Little Tenderness” is one of those reasons. [10/10]

by PopMatters Staff

22 Apr 2016


Emmanuel Elone: “Light Up the Sky” is a stunning electronic, R&B fusion. With some vibrant synth chords and some distinct percussion (that includes handclaps and possibly finger snaps), “Light Up the Sky” certainly isn’t lacking in the musical department. Bibio’s vocals are great as well, bringing some smooth, passionate singing to the table as well. For some reason, though, “Light Up the Sky” doesn’t pack the punch that I would expect it to, which is surprising since nothing seems to be out of place or outright bad on it. Still, it’s a good song at the very least, and might just simply have to grow on me a bit more before I can fully appreciate it. [6/10]

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